Office 2013 is the best Office yet
With Office 365 Home Premium, Microsoft brings excellent cloud features and pay-as-you-go pricing to the world's best office suiteFollow @syegulalp
Another benefit is a fast install. On my connection, the entire Office 2013 suite -- Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Access, Publisher, and OneNote -- took about five minutes to get installed and running, with a PowerPoint slide deck unfolding in the foreground to walk me through the new features. If installing a portion of the suite threatens to slow down proceedings, a dialog box pops up from the tray to alert you. I saw this warning a couple of times, but only during the first usage of a given program. Everything after that was snappy.
Office 2013 integrates closely with Microsoft's online services, both for the sake of making one's own work portable and for enhancing collaboration. You don't have to use a Microsoft sign-in identity to use the suite, but doing so gives you automatic access to files in SkyDrive, through which you can collaboratively edit documents with other users in real time. Plus, any Office settings you have will move with you between systems -- not just cosmetic preferences like visual styles for the program, but also low-level settings like custom dictionaries in Word.
A particularly snazzy feature, Office On Demand can "stream" a copy of Office 365 Home Premium to a PC for provisional use. Once you're finished, you simply close the program; it uninstalls itself without a trace. I used Office on Demand to run Word 2013 on a Dell Latitude 6430u Ultrabook, and while the program sometimes stalled to download additional pieces as needed, I was able to get completely up and running in about five minutes. The installers are cached locally, so even after a reboot I was able to fire up fresh instances of Word from Office On Demand in seconds. It doesn't remember any user settings, but that makes sense if you're trying not to leave anything behind. (A consequent downside: Custom dictionaries aren't streamed to Office On Demand setups.)
The biggest visible change to each app is the Modern UI-style theme, plus a setting to make visual elements more useful on a touch display by ramping up their size. Outlook contrasts most dramatically with its previous versions, and it looks far less crowded and busy. But the changes to Outlook don't stop there: It has a more efficient mail-storage format; lets you reply to emails "inline," meaning directly from the inbox (a nice way to avoid cluttering your screen with open windows); and finally lets you view appointments or contact information without having to switch away from email.